UPDATE: Merkel’s first coronavirus test comes back negative

UPDATE: Merkel's first coronavirus test comes back negative
Angela Merkel at the press conference on Sunday. Photo: DPA
Angela Merkel's first coronavirus test is negative, a government spokesman said on Monday.

“The result of today's test is negative,” government spokesperson Steffen Seibert told DPA on Monday. “Further tests will be carried out in the coming days.”

Earlier in the day, Seibert said Merkel had been “doing well” in self-imposed quarantine.

The chancellor had decided to self-isolate as a precaution after learning on Sunday that a doctor who vaccinated her last Friday was infected with the novel coronavirus.

“The chancellor is doing well,” Seibert told reporters.

It came as the head of Germany's disease control agency the Robert Koch Institute on Monday said he was “optimistic” that the restrictions were paying off, noting that the outbreak's “exponential growth curve had started to flatten a bit”.

Lothar Wieler said he expected to have a clearer view of the trend by Wednesday.

Dialling in from her Berlin flat, Merkel, 65, led a cabinet meeting that decided on a major rescue package for virus-stricken companies and employees in Europe's top economy.

Earlier in the day Seibert thanked everyone on Merkel's behalf for “the many, many well wishes and messages for the chancellor to stay healthy”.

READ ALSO: Coronavirus death toll in Germany rises as new measures come into force

The spokesman declined to say whether Merkel's chemistry professor husband Joachim Sauer was quarantining with her, saying he would not share information about family members.

Asked if he himself, as a close Merkel staffer, should self-isolate, Seibert said he last met with the chancellor on Sunday afternoon but had stuck to the advice of keeping a safe physical distance from people.

Ban on gatherings of more than two

News that Merkel was going into quarantine came shortly after she gave a press conference in Berlin where she showed no symptoms of ill health.

She used the press conference to announce fresh curbs on social interactions to contain a pandemic that has infected over 27,000 people in Germany and killed more than 100.

The latest measures include a ban on gatherings of more than two people, on top of last week's closures of schools, non-essential shops, bars and restaurants.

READ ALSO: Germany bans gatherings of more than two to control coronavirus spread


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